SM-3 fails to intercept ballistic missile in latest test

USS John Paul Jones (DDG 53) launched the Standard Missile-3 (SM-3) Block IIA in the February 3 flight test. Photo: US Navy

The new Standard Missile-3 (SM-3) Block IIA missile failed to intercept its target in a test conducted by the U.S. and Japan over the coast of Hawaii on June 21.

This was the fourth flight test of the missile and the second intercept test with the first one regarded a success.

Following the test, the U.S. Missile Defense Agency announced that the planned intercept was not achieved.

At approximately 7:20 p.m., Hawaii Standard Time, June 21 (1:20 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time, June 22), a medium-range ballistic target missile was launched from the Pacific Missile Range Facility at Kauai, Hawaii.

The USS John Paul Jones (DDG 53) detected and tracked the target missile with its onboard AN/SPY-1 radar using the Aegis Baseline 9.C2 weapon system. Upon acquiring and tracking the target, the ship launched an SM-3 Block IIA guided missile, but the missile did not intercept the target.

The SM-3 Block IIA is being developed cooperatively by the U.S. and Japan to defeat medium- and intermediate-range ballistic missiles. This is a new, developmental interceptor that is not yet fielded by either country.

MDA said program officials will now conduct an extensive analysis of the test data adding that no additional details will be available until that review is complete.

Though currently still in the development and test phase, the SM-3 Block IIA interceptor is being designed to operate as part of the Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense system. Currently, the Aegis BMD system operates with the SM-3 Block 1A, SM-3 Block 1B, and SM-6 interceptors.

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